Diary of a resident in a post Grenfell tower block with dodgy cladding
You would have thought that since the Grenfell disaster that the UK’s landlords would have have been jolted into action and been all sweetness and light to their previously forgotten residents. You would have also have thought that the offensive cladding would have all gone now…but as the photos taken today (July 25th) show the controversial cladding mostly remains in place with only one floor’s worth of its metallic sheen removed exposing the naked and foamy flesh of the undergarment padding to the world.
In the the two months the tower blocks of the UK went from ignored corners of towns and cities to scary and ominous places clad in their previously fashionable aluminium sheets that screamed style over content that the residents were not happy about in the first place and now scream ‘fucking dangerous’…
Living in one of these tower blocks is a strange affair now. We are trapped in a bizarre limbo. The first week post Grenfell saw prevarication and obtuse communication. ‘The block is safe’ became ‘we are testing the cladding’ to silence and then jolted into action by a series of tweets to their twitter account to ‘don’t worry…’.
They then suddenly appeared covered in overalls and took down the cladding on one floor of the block leaving the foam hanging there in the inclement Mancunian climate. Four weeks later it still hangs there looking all forlorn and naked. Those four weeks have sped by with almost zero communication and the occasional TV crew or radio team. Eleven stories are still covered in the dread cladding and one is exposed like a robot hitching its inflammable dress up above its nervous ankles.
And of the future?
Only rumours…oddly most information comes from a rival landlord’s workers who tell us with remarkably little smugness how they covered their blocks in Zinc cladding because it was safer and the cost was worth it. We have a nervous looking fore guard whose job it is to evacuate the block in case of fire but what a skinny looking boy-man who has been plucked and bullied from the DHSS is going to do when the big one comes is anyone’s guess – run up 12 flights of stairs and then knock on sixty doors as he calmly evacuates the building?
Mmmmm think not.
There are rumours of lack of scaffolding that is even in shorter supply than information whilst one nervous fireguard said that the bosses were even thinking of getting builders to assail down the block removing the cladding piece by piece – a bit like a crap version of the chocolate box advert from years ago – only far more dangerous and less believable…
As I type inside my inflammable dungeon and ponder the imponderable I wonder if the owners of these blocks sleep safely in their large homes out in the country – quite possibly without cladding…